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A. Generally: A special use permit is authorization for a property owner to develop a use that is only allowed when developed under certain specific conditions. Specially permitted uses are those which are generally compatible with the land uses permitted by right in a given zoning district, with individual review of location, design and configuration to ensure appropriateness of the use. The issuance of a special use permit is discretionary and not a matter of right. All privileges granted pursuant to a special use permit shall be exercised within three hundred sixty five (365) days of granting the special use permit unless otherwise provided; failure to exercise within three hundred sixty five (365) days will terminate said special use permit. Annual renewal of a special use permit is not required. However, any expansion in use shall require a new application for a special use permit. The procedure for an expansion of use shall be the same as set forth for a special use permit. Any conditions attached to the special use permit by the commission must be upheld and continued as long as the special use permit remains active. Failure to comply with any of the conditions may result in termination of the special use permit.
B. Categories: There are four (4) categories of special use permit:
1. Minor: These applications will include and be similar to small projects requiring little review such as small "home based businesses" that cannot meet the conditions of a conditional use permit and not creating adverse impacts.
2. General: These applications will include and be similar to moderate projects requiring some outside research and consideration from other departments regarding possible impacts to the community such as minor aggregate operations.
3. Major: These applications will include all major projects where significant research and review of the application, conceptual plans, etc., must be completed by the planning staff and other County departments, and agents as assigned in order to determine the impacts to the environment, roads and/or community such as energy production and manufacturing.
4. Administrative Special Use Permit: Administrative special use permits are issued by the Planning Director (see subsection L of this section).
C. Required: The proposed use shall require a special use permit if the use falls into one of the following categories:
1. The use is listed as a special use in the land use/zoning district or shall be a similar use not listed. The Director shall determine whether or not a use not included as a special use is a similar use that does not deviate from the pattern of other special uses in that land use/zoning district and complies with that district's purpose statement.
2. It is a use that may have impacts to public health and safety and/or adjoining land uses as deemed by the Director.
3. All twenty four (24) hour businesses as implied or nighttime business (i.e., bars, clubs, etc.).
4. Any project that is considered a "major traffic generator" defined as the use or uses that generate a total of five hundred (500) or more vehicle trips per day to and from the use or uses. Projects that generate over eighty (80) average daily traffic (ADT) are required to prepare a traffic study in accordance with section 16.16.010.8 of this title.
5. Any use of hazardous materials which includes, without limitation, any substance or combination of substances, including any hazardous material, hazardous waste, hazardous substance or marine pollutant as defined or described in Nevada Revised Statutes 459.
6. Projects of any magnitude that have the potential to utilize or transfer significant quantities of water that may result in declining water levels in existing wells or loss of irrigated acreage.
D. Authority: The commission shall have the discretionary authority to approve, conditionally approve, continue within allowed time frames, or deny a minor, general or major special use permit. The Planning Director shall have the authority to approve an administrative special use permit.
E. Application Requirements:
1. All applicants shall meet with Planning Department staff to discuss the application and procedure prior to completing the application. Once the application is complete (but prior to signing and making copies) it is strongly recommended that the applicant meet again with Planning Department staff to review the application for accuracy and detail. If a meeting is impractical, the applicant shall provide a draft copy to the Planning Department for review.
2. Any new or amended application for a special use permit of a size or complexity that the County determines warrants specialized/skilled professionals or a panel of experts to assist in the review of the application or future monitoring shall deposit with the County an amount to be determined up to fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00) at the time the special use permit application is filed with the County. Said deposit shall be used for services provided by specialized or skilled professionals retained by the County to review and provide consultation to be used in determining the possible impacts of the proposed use or conditions to be placed upon granting the special use permit and to assist in oversight of the development of the proposed use. If the deposit is required, no permit shall be issued until the deposit is lodged with the County. If the special use permit application is denied, the outstanding balance of the deposit shall be returned to applicant after the time for filing appeals and petitions for judicial review have expired. If the special use permit is granted, the deposit shall be retained and utilized by the County for services provided by specialized or skilled professionals retained by the County to monitor compliance with the conditions of the special use permit. At the time the special use permit is granted, applicant, as a condition of the special use permit, may be required to deposit additional funds with the County to bring the balance of the deposit back up to fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00).
3. The required completed application form and a site plan showing the applicant's intent to meet the special use permit application and site plan requirements, including a signature of at least one owner of record, or if the property is being leased or purchased, a letter from the landowner stating approval for application of the special use permit or a copy of the lease agreement of the subject property, shall be submitted. Only in circumstances where the proposed project encompasses multiple properties, such as a major highway, a transmission line, a natural gas or fuel line, may an application be filed without property owner signatures provided that the applicant provides documentation that demonstrates that the property owners have been made aware of the proposed project.
4. Every application must include a sworn affidavit that the information presented in the application is true, complete, and correct to the best of the knowledge of the applicant, and an acknowledgement that any material misrepresentation or omission made in the application or at a public hearing by the applicant or an agent of the applicant may constitute grounds for reexamination or revocation of the special use permit if granted.
F. Application Review: The Director shall review each application to ensure that the proposal is consistent with the requirements of this title.
1. The Director shall ensure that each application that has potential impacts upon public services and infrastructure, public health and safety is reviewed for the purposes of assessing the impact of the proposed use by applicable County and State staff including, but not limited to, the County Health Officer, the Sheriff, the Fallon/Churchill Fire Marshal, the Road Supervisor, and the Building Official.
2. In addition to any other review conducted under this section, the Director may, when reviewing an application, convene a multidisciplinary panel for purposes of assessing the impact of a proposed use upon public health, safety, convenience and welfare. Where such a panel has not been convened by the Director, the commission may also convene such a panel to assess an application.
3. A panel convened by the Director or commission under this section shall be composed of such persons bearing the requisite scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge which will assist the Director or the commission in determining whether or not to grant a special use permit. The panel thus convened shall prepare written findings and recommendations as to the proposed special use.
4. The cost of any assessment conducted under this section shall be borne by the applicant and shall be made payable to the Churchill County Planning Department.
1. The commission shall hold a public hearing, no more than sixty five (65) days after filing of a complete application, and shall give notice of time and place and purpose thereof by mailing a notice, pursuant to this title.
2. The commission shall hear and consider evidence and facts from any person at the public hearing, or shall consider written communication from any person relative to the proposed special use permit.
H. Findings: Findings from a preponderance of evidence must indicate that the proposed use:
1. Is compatible with the existing surrounding land uses and development;
2. Is in substantial conformance with the master plan and policies and will be constructed and operated in full compliance of this Code;
3. The project will be constructed and operated in a manner that will not overburden public services and infrastructure;
4. Adequately mitigates road and traffic impacts generated by the construction and build-out of the project;
5. Does not create adverse environmental impacts, including, but not limited to, noise, glare, fumes, and odor that may be detrimental either to public health, public safety, or general welfare of the persons or property in the vicinity or the wildlife and/or natural resources.
The applicant for a special use permit shall have the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence to provide facts supporting the proposed special use permit. For purposes of legal clarity, this shall include the burden of going forward with the evidence and the burden of persuasion on all questions of fact, which are to be determined by the commission and the Board. Additionally, the applicant shall provide adequate information in the application to substantiate the findings required in this subsection.
1. Following the public hearing, the commission shall determine if there is a preponderance of evidence in the record to support the findings required by this section and shall approve, conditionally approve, modify, continue within allowed time frames, or deny the special use permit request.
2. The applicant may request a continuance of any application for a special use permit to a future meeting. A continuance suspends the time lines established in Nevada Revised Statutes and this title.
J. Conditions Of Approval: The commission, in approving any special use permit, may require certain conditions under which the lot or parcel may be used or the building constructed if, in such commission's opinion, the use will otherwise be incompatible with other existing and potential uses within the same general area or will overburden public services, improvements or facilities.
1. Removal Of Exterior Facilities: With placement of physical facilities other than a building (i.e., cell tower, geothermal facility, solar field, etc.) the commission may also require a performance bond for all new facilities exterior, including relocation where a previous bond has not been accepted, in a form acceptable to the Planning Department, or a cash deposit in lieu of the bond, in an amount sufficient to provide for removal, storage or disposal of the facilities plus an additional fifteen percent (15%) contingency and to restore the site including stabilization and re-vegetation as necessary. An estimate of the removal cost from a licensed company experienced in contracting for removal of standard components shall accompany the bond. Unless the facility is located on property owned by a governmental entity where a guarantee is in place for removal of the facility when no longer in use, a separate bond will be required for each facility regardless of owner(s) or location. All bonds shall provide for the County to collect the full amount of the guarantee if the applicant fails to maintain the guarantee. Any government entity or public utility company shall be exempt from this requirement.
If no bond is in place, or if the County cannot collect on a bond issued pursuant to the previous paragraph, then the following procedure shall apply. Any abandoned or unused facility, and the associated components, shall be removed within twelve (12) months of the cessation of operations of the facility. In the event that timely removal is not performed, the County may remove or cause the removal of the components and assess the costs of removal against the property after notice and an opportunity to be heard is provided. Before taking such action, the County must mail to the property owner a notice of the County's intent to do so. The property owner served with such notice shall have thirty (30) days from the date the notice is mailed to respond in writing to request a hearing before the Board to show cause why the abandoned components should not be removed from the property at the property owner's expense. The failure to request a hearing within thirty (30) days shall be deemed a waiver of the right to be heard and the County may immediately cause the removal of the components, and may assess the costs of removal, storage and disposal against the property.
K. Expiration; Termination:
1. An approved special use permit must be enacted within three hundred sixty five (365) days from the date of approval. Enactment includes, without limitation, submittal of permit applications, applications for building permits, construction of the project, etc. If no action is taken, the special use permit shall be null and void and such use shall not be made of the property except upon the granting of a new special use permit.
2. In the event that the use authorized by the special use permit is abandoned for a period of more than three hundred sixty five (365) calendar days from the date of last producing operations, the permit shall become null and void and a new special use permit shall be required. In the event of a force majeure, such as, and not limited to, flood, damage, or destruction of the access to the site, earthquake, or other events beyond the control of the County or permit holder, the period of abandonment shall not be deemed to commence until such time as the permit holder may be found to once again have reasonable access to the site. In this connection, the permit holder shall reasonably attempt to establish access to the site. The special use permit shall remain valid as long as the permit holder, its heirs, assigns or successors remain in compliance with the terms of this permit and County, State and Federal regulations. In the event that the permit lapses or the use is discontinued or abandoned, the permit holder/owner, its heirs, assigns or successors shall remain responsible for environmental compliance until postclosure reclamation requirements are met. If the business or facility is not being abandoned, but is not in operation for greater than three hundred sixty five (365) days for a reason such as equipment failure, replacement or maintenance, the permit holder shall notify the Planning Department in writing indicating an estimated time line for operations to commence.
3. In the event that circumstances beyond the control of the applicant result in a failure to complete applicable special use permit conditions and construct or commence the use prior to the expiration date, the applicant may, in writing, request one single extension of the expiration date for a period of not to exceed three hundred sixty five (365) days from the original date of expiration. The written request for an extension shall be received by the Planning Department thirty (30) days prior to the expiration date. The Director may approve a one year extension with the option of commission review.
4. A special use permit shall be, upon violation, subject to reexamination or revocation by the commission pursuant to section 16.08.100 of this article.
5. A special use permit granted for a home based business shall terminate upon the close of the business or relocation of the business owner.
L. Administrative Special Use Permits:
1. The Planning Director, pursuant to the process established in this title, has the authority to grant an administrative special use permit for the uses identified in section 16.08.250, "Use Table For All Zoning Districts", of this chapter. The applicant shall provide a site plan drawing of the property indicating locations of existing houses, wells and septic tanks, improvements, setbacks, access and location of the proposed improvements.
2. Prior to consideration of an administrative special use permit the Planning Director shall provide written notice of the requested special use permit to each owner, as listed on the County Assessor's records, of real property located within one hundred feet (100') of the exterior limits of the property in question as shown by the latest assessment rolls of the County. Notice by mail to the last known address of real property owners as shown by the assessor's records shall be sufficient.
3. The Planning Director may grant the special use permit if the proposed use will not impair the purpose of the zoning district or any other provisions of this Code. The Planning Director may impose conditions that will mitigate potential impacts and ensure conformance with this Code.
4. The administrative special use permit is subject to the same expiration deadline as a special use permit and has the same requirement for an extension of the deadline (see subsection K of this section). (Bill 2019-A, 2019: Bill 2018-E, 2019: Bill 2015-D, 2015: Bill 2012-F, 2012: Bill 2010-G, 2010: Bill 2007-I, 2007: Bill 2006-G, 2006: Bill 2005-F § 2.2, 2005)